Kaymak is an obscure-to-most-Americans, clotted cream-like product native to Turkish, Balkan, and certain Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Its high butter fat content, spreadability, and delicate lactic flavor tinged with a subtle cheesy funk make it endlessly useful in the kitchen and adaptable to sweet and savory applications. Unfortunately for immigrants, expats, and others who have developed a taste for the stuff, kaymak can be frustratingly difficult to source in the United States, even in major metropolitan areas.
What few Western New Yorkers know is that kaymak is readily available for purchase in Buffalo—you just have to know where to find it.
The Farm Shop operated by White Cow Dairy in the Elmwood Village regularly carries kaymak, which it makes fresh from the milk of free-range cows in East Otto, New York, and sells in its signature 5.5 ounce glass jars. Unlike some traditional versions, which a writer in the know describes as hovering “somewhere in between liquid and solid,” the consistency of White Cow Dairy’s kaymak is akin to that of freshly churned butter.
Lacking any preconceived notion of the right or wrong way to use kaymak affords one the license to experiment, and my results with the product have been good. On a recent rainy Saturday, a dollop of kaymak blended into homemade tomato-pumpkin soup lent the dish a silky finish. More recently, it stood in for butter as the browning agent for a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s also delicious in its simplest form: slathered on bread with a little coarse salt (or honey, as it’s done in Turkey). And though I haven’t tried it myself, I have it on good authority that kaymak stirred into hot coffee is excellent alternative to cream or half-and-half.